Fewer people coming off a benefit and moving into work shows a “stalling economy” and a “failing Government”, says Labour.
But the Government says Labour had gotten its maths wrong on figures the party obtained.
While the real numbers of beneficiaries moving into work had decreased, the overall percentage of people going into work had actually gone up, as the total pool of beneficiaries decreased, said Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.
If you have fewer people on benefits, then yes there will probably be fewer beneficiaries going into work.
Labour’s social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni said she stood by the argument, and they still showed there was a proportionate decrease in the number of people going into work, than the year prior.
The figures released to Labour under the Official Information Act showed that the number of New Zealanders moving off benefits and into work fell by nearly about 3500 in the last twelve months – from 84,477 to 80,967.
In that period, the total number of main benefit cancellations fell by 22,085 – from 220,497 to 198,412.
At the end of March 2015, 284,260 working age people were receiving a main benefit. That was down from 295,000 people in June 2014, according to the Ministry website.
“At the same time the New Zealand Income Survey shows an extra 27,500 people were receiving government transfers – primarily benefits and superannuation – as their main source of income compared to 12 months ago.
“Crucially, there was a 38.85 per cent increase in the number of people aged between 50 and 59 years on these transfers between 2014 and 2015,” Sepuloni said.
Oh this is desperate stuff. The NZ Income Survey is basically a poll of a few thousand NZers. It provides very good data on incomes, but using it to claim a certain level of people are on welfare is ridiculous, because you have the actual individual welfare data available.
It’s like claiming the results of an exit poll over the actual election result.
Tolley said Labour was looking for a bad new story where there was none.
“Labour has been found out once again for not doing its homework and failing to realise this is a good news story.
“40.8 per cent of beneficiaries left benefit for work in 2014/15, up from 38.3 per cent the previous year, and 33.5 per cent in 2010,” she said.
So thanks to Carmel for highlighting the positive trend.
“This is against a backdrop of fewer people on benefit – a fall of 38,000 compared to three years ago – and Labour reckon this is a bad thing?”
It’s an awful thing for Labour – the more people reliant on the state for their income, the more potential votes for Labour.